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  • Writer's pictureAndre Shih

How Effective Is Acupuncture For Plantar Fasciitis?

This happened a while back when I just started acupuncture school. There was a lady in her 40s in my office. She had been limping around the office for 2 weeks. I couldn't help but asked her what happened. She told me that she had hurt her foot while playing on the trampoline at home. And the doctor said it's plantar fasciitis which will take 6 weeks to a few months to recover.

There were a few people in the office knew that I was in the acupuncture program. And even though I was capable of treating people, I didn't offer to treat anyone unless they asked. At that time, she knew I was treating another co-worker for back pain from getting hit by a car, but still she didn't ask me for help. For another 2 weeks, I saw her limping around the office.

One day I finally told her, "I can help you if you are interested.", and she agreed.

Up until this point, she did not have any improvement except slightly less pain than when it just happened. That afternoon, she came to my office sat down at a chair next to me. I gave her 3 needles on her thumb (Master Tong's Wu Hu points), opposite side of her painful foot, and asked her to take a few steps to see how it felt. She took a few steps toward the office door and looked back at me very puzzled. I asked her how the pain was, and I could tell that she was going to say "how....?" with her puzzled face, but she said "it's better."

She had 2 more treatment the following week. The following week after that she told me, "the weather was too nice, I went for a bike ride and the pain came back a little." "You should be resting!" I told her. I gave her a few more treatments, and she was back to normal within the 6-week window her doctor told her.

How does acupuncture exactly work? Honestly, I have no clue. Some studies say it stops pain. Yes, it does. But if it only stops pain, she wouldn't be back to normal within a few weeks, would she? TCM textbook says when there is obstruction, there is pain. And it also says acupuncture improve Qi and blood flow. So by improving the Qi and blood flow, there is less pain and quicker recovery. So can something as simple as "improve Qi and blood flow" do so much? I don't know, maybe. But I can tell you IT DOES WORK!

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